Each week of the 2018 season, The Red & Black football writers will rank the teams of the Southeastern Conference. This week, The Red & Black surveys the conference after college football's opening weekend.
Tier One: Alabama, Georgia and Auburn
Alabama and Georgia — even with their uncertainties at quarterback — maintained a tight grip on the conference’s highest tier. The Bulldogs held Austin Peay scoreless while the Crimson Tide punished Louisville 51-14, and while the competition they faced couldn’t represent how dominant they are expected to be, it was enough to keep their top spots. Auburn is the newcomer in the first tier, and the Tigers earned it with a 21-16 upset win over No. 6 Washington.
— Tommy Boyd
Tier Two: Mississippi State, South Carolina, LSU
After week one, these three teams are still on the cusp of greatness in the SEC. Mississippi State and South Carolina both got easy victories over Stephen F. Austin and Coastal Carolina, respectively. LSU earned a promotion to the second tier with a dominant 33-17 victory over No. 8 Miami. All three still have a lot to prove to contend for an SEC title, but they are on the right track to start the season.
— Janey Murray
Tier Three: Ole Miss, Florida
Ole Miss opened the year with an impressive 47-27 win over Texas Tech. The Rebels totaled 546 yards of offense behind quarterback Jordan Ta'amu and look to be a dangerous team in the SEC West. The Gators took care of business in a 53-6 beating of Charleston Southern. Dan Mullen's debut as Florida head coach was a successful one, but it remains to be seen if Florida can be a factor in the SEC East.
— Collin Huguley
Tier 4: Texas A&M, Missouri, Arkansas
Texas A&M, Missouri and Arkansas make up tier four because of the caliber of their opponents, even with each team earning a win for the season opener. Texas A&M won against Northwestern State 59-7, Missouri beat UT Martin 51-14 and Arkansas won 55-20 over Eastern Illinois. The three wins were not too impressive as they were all non-conference games that should have resulted in a win for each team, and the wins did not show offer much insight into the abilities of this group.
— Kelsey Russo
Tier Five: Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Tennessee
None of these three teams did anything to make a big move up the power rankings. Vanderbilt struggled early before pulling away for a 35-7 win over Middle Tennessee State, and Kentucky outscored Central Michigan 14-0 in the second half to win 35-20. Then, there’s Tennessee. The Volunteers got shelled 40-14 by West Virginia in Charlotte, becoming the only SEC team to lose on opening weekend and cementing their place at the bottom of the power rankings.
— Jed May